Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hurricane Party

On Saturday morning, I woke up on the couch with a slight hangover. It was one of those weeks. Lindsey went to bed early, but I stayed up late watching TV and playing Xbox on Friday night because my week at work kinda sucked.

The first thing we did on Saturday morning was check the Weather Channel for an update on the storm. This must have been at about 10:00 am. When I saw the path that Katrina was taking, my gut told me it was time to get the hell out of New Orleans. Camille and Andrew took similar paths and both impacted the Gulf Coast greatly. We agreed that Lindsey would go to work and I would work on preparing the house for a major hurricane. At this point it was still a category 3 storm I think.

Since Lindsey works for the State, her help was needed to prepare the Metropolitan Developmental Center residents for evacuation from the city. Say what you will about the State, but MDC is on the ball where everyone else is dragging their feet. They made the call as early as Friday night to get the 300-400 residents at their facility out of the city. So from 12:00 to 4:00 on Saturday afternoon that's what Lindsey was doing.

While she was doing that I headed straight out to Lowe's to buy three large sheets of plywood and a circular saw. With the plywood stacked on top of my poor little Toyota Corolla, and my arm sticking out of the driver's side window for support in addition to the twine I used to tie it down, I made it over the Crescent City Connection bridge and back to the house. Once home I had to figure out how to operate a circular saw, as I had never even touched one before, though I've watched my Dad use them a million times since I was a kid. Following the instruction manual, I managed to get the blade on the saw and I was off. I cut up the wood and boarded up most of the windows. To be honest, at the time we really weren't expecting much of a storm at all, so the plywood was intended more to deter looters than it was to protect from the storm.

Once the windows were boarded up, I took 30 minutes to cut he grass so that I wouldn't need to bother with that later, and then I took a much needed shower. I began these preparations at 1:00 and finished up sometime after 3:30. Needless to say it was seriously hot working out there and I was sweating profusely.

Once I cleaned up a bit I packed our bags, ran to the grocery store for essential supplies like water, ice, and Diet Dr. Peppers. I packed an ice chest-er with these essentials and loaded everything into the car. Finally, Lindsey got back from work and we climbed into the car with Mojo and headed for Lafayette.

I am so glad I jumped the gun in this case. We left New Orleans at 6:45 on Saturday night and were able to get to Lafayette by 10:00. Not bad considering that when we evacuated for Hurricane Ivan last year it took us 12 hours to cover the same distance. Watching the news on Saturday only supported my decision to leave. Hurricane Katrina was upgraded to a Category 5 and New Orleans issued a mandatory evacuation for the first time in the city's history. This means that the roads have turned into a giant parking lot. I'm sure it's hellacious out there and I couldn't be happier to not be in it.

So anyway, that's the story. Lindsey and I are camping out in Lafayette to ride out the storm. Depending on whether New Orleans still exists or not when this thing is over with, we should be heading home as soon as we can. The news channels are currently saying that New Orleans may be uninhabitable for weeks if the damage is as bad as the forecasts are predicting. So wish us luck and while it is only stuff that can always be replaced we're hoping that our house and all of our belongings will be okay back home.